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Police Continue 'Exhaustive' Investigation

The LAist: Police Continue 'Exhaustive' Investigation into Susanna Schick Biking Accident, Hope It Doesn't Create 'Bike Versus Car' Mentality

Friday night's bicycle accident in Downtown Los Angeles has proved quite controversial, as conflicting reports and skepticism of the LAPD's investigation have stirred the local community. We learned today that although police ruled out the alleged road rage/hit-and-run component of the accident, they will continue to probe the events leading up to experienced cyclist Susanna Schick's fall and injuries.

Blogdowntown writes today that "police say they will continue an 'exhaustive' investigation into what did cause cyclist Susanna Schick to fall off her bike." LAPD Captain Horace Frank told the blog a detective is on the case and will examine Schick's bike, speak with witnesses (which are currently just two police officers) and refer to Schick's testimony.

Earlier this week, Lt. Paul Vernon of the LAPD told the blog, "There's a great deal of discrepancy. There is no crime here. She fell down on her bicycle." However, Schick's friend, Jennifer Beatty, said it was a "physical improbability" that the damage to Schick's rear wheel, which now looks like a "bike taco," could occur without a collision. Beatty also explained Spring Street's rather pristine conditions for cyclists would make it very difficult for a rider, especially one as seasoned as Schick, to wobble and tumble off her bike. Due to the overwhelming amount of attention, police have reversed an earlier decision and will examine the case as a possible crime.

Sgt. David Krumer, the LAPD’s liaison to the bike community, told NBC LA today, "There are so many people saying 'No, there is more to it,'" Krumer said. "It doesn’t harm us to proceed as if a crime occurred, especially given the political ramifications and the media attention."

Police Chief Charlie Beck said on KPCC's Pat Morrison Show Wednesday that the LAPD has nothing to hide.

"There is no reluctance by the police department to investigate a hit-and-run involving a bicyclist- matter of fact: I would like to. But I need information," said Beck. Witnesses are encouraged to come forward.

So far, as we mentioned above, two police officers are the only reported witnesses to the incident. They saw the white Lexus pull out of a garage and onto Spring Street, swerving into Schick's, aka Pinkyracer's, green bike lane around 11:30pm. They claim Schick pedaled up to the car, hit the side view mirror and yelled at the driver and passenger, who rolled up their windows. She continued on her bicycle for another block or two until the car turned right. Officers say Schick wobbled and tumbled off the bike.

The 42-year-old's injuries include a concussion, broken collarbone, six broken ribs, three pelvic fractures and facial lacerations. Many skeptics of the police report cite Schick's extensive injuries as proof that she didn't simply take a tumble. Gary Kavanagh of the blog Gary Rides Bikes commented on Schick's injuries in our Wednesday coverage:

As an amateur road bicycle racer, I've witnessed my fair share of high speed solo and bike on bike crashes in races, but I never saw someone come out one of those crashes with the severity of injuries she has. Maybe in a steep descending speed crash, or a dog pile of tangled sprinters, but that is not what happened here. The idea that she just wobbled over and fell and took injuries like that on flat ground, I just cannot believe in the slightest.

However, there could be other witnesses. The following comment has yet to be investigated, but LAist reader "wy wy" recently wrote the following in the comments section of our Monday coverage:

I ran to her side moments after she crashed. No one crashed into her or veered into her- there was no traffic near her. She simply lost control and fell off of her bike. The officer said to me that her front wheel wobbled and she fell. I was across the street on my skateboard and heard her hit the ground, immediately looked in her direction, saw she wasn't moving, and ran across the street directly to her. About 3 other by-standers came to the scene soon after me, including 2 police officers who made sure no one touched her or her bike until the ambulance came. Susanna was face-down, breathing heavily and was unresponsive for about 2 minutes, and the whole time I was talking to her until and after she regained consciousness. I asked her simple things like 'do you know where you are?' 'do you know what day it is?' 'what is your name?' and I told her that the ambulance was close and that she was going to be okay. She told me her name, asked if she crashed on her bike or motorcycle, said her shoulder and her hip hurt, she felt stupid and couldn't believe that happened, she asked if her nose was bleeding, asked why her foot was cold and it was because one shoe came off when she crashed. I stayed by her side talking to her and kept an eye on her bike until the firetruck and ambulance came and they made me move out of the way. The police officer who saw her crash took on the responsibility to get her bike to her house after she told us her address, which was a block and a half away. I made sure the officer took care of her bike- he had her address written on his hand and put her bike in his trunk. I looked her up on facebook while she was being loaded into the ambulance and sent her my phone number so she could call me and let me know how she was doing. I took a few seconds of video while she was being loaded into the ambulance and I was walking away.

The ChipIn Fund created on Sunday by Schick's friend to help pay for her medical costs says she was moved from ICU to a private room on Monday evening and will eventually move to a rehabilitation facility. We've been watching the fund grow daily, and today the donation amount has reached almost $5,900.

Frank told Blogdowntown police plan to conclude the case in the next few days, adding that he hopes the incident doesn't create a "bike versus car" mentality.